The Wallenberg Chapter: Serov’s Original Typed Manuscript Translated

Note from the translator. This is a translation of the pages of typewritten that were produced in court in Moscow in connection with the libel case of against Boris Sokolov, who has questioned what portions of the text presented in “Notes from a Suitcase”, the purported memoir of Ivan Serov, was written by him. An examination of the typewritten pages and the text in “Notes from the Suitcase” reveals that they are exactly the same. In my translation I have tried to retain the character of the text, which is written in poor Russian and contains numerous grammar mistakes. I tried to be as close to the Russian original as possible, but some phrases in English sound much smoother that they are in the Russian original. 

In 2016, an exhibition glorifying Ivan Serov and promoting his book Notes from a Suitcase was opened in Moscow. An old portable typewriter, a German “Kolibri”, was among the exhibits. These typewriters were manufactured in Eastern Germany in the 1950s-60s and sold in the Soviet Union. Apparently the exhibited typewriter was the one on which Serov’s wife Vera typed his handwritten texts. It would be interesting to get a professional evaluation of whether the 6-page text about the Wallenberg case was typed on that typewriter.

But if it was, this does not prove that the text was, in fact, written by Serov and even if it was, there could be changes and insertions in it made by other persons before typing. Without any real proof of Serov’s authorship, this text can not be considered authentic. The footnotes in the text below describe my observations about the claims in the text. – V. B.

“Notes from a Suitcase”, Wallenberg chapter Page 1, photo of page courtesy of Boris Sokolov

Page 1

The Wallenberg Case

In 1987, various journalists, Soviet and foreign, began calling me at my dacha [country house]. All of them were interested in one person, Wallenberg.

I did not want to talk about this topic, and I answered/told all of them the same thing: “I don’t know anything about this case.” I wondered where they found my phone [number], which was not listed in any directories. However, my son-in-law had many journalist friends who possessed this number.[1] I even asked that my number be changed, and that was done.

All these telephone calls and persistent requests of journalists convinced me to recall what I knew of the Wallenberg case.

For the first time, I heard this name in 1942, when I worked as Plenipotentiary of the Stavka [Main Command of the USSR Armed Forces during World War II]. Then I knew that a relative of the prominent Swedish bankers, Wallenberg, had arrived in the temporarily occupied territory, specifically in [the city of] Pskov, where he had contacts with the Fascist [Nazi] civil administration and the “Abwehr.”[2]

Many years passed by. This name I have forgotten, but I was forced to recall it by the head of counter-intelligence, the old employee of the organs [secret services] [Pyotr] Fedotov.[3] In 1954 (or at the end of 1953, now I don’t remember exactly), Fedotov reported to me that the Swedish government circles were actively interested in the Wallenberg case.

“Report in detail what he did,” – I said.

“He was a representative of the Swedish Red Cross in Budapest, [he was] closely associated with the German and American agents, – said Fedotov. – In 1947, he was liquidated on Abakumov’s order.”[4]

Fedotov said that the interest in Wallenberg was caused by the fact that many former prisoners of war and internees, and previously detained foreign nationals were returning to their Motherland.[5]

“Keep this case under control,” – I ordered Fedotov.

After some time, Fedotov reported to me that, in addition to Wallenberg’s registration card kept in [military] counterintelligence, the main operational materials were in the Second European Department of the Committee of Information [KI].[6] Apparently, when Fedotov worked as Deputy Chairman of the KI, he saw these papers.

Then I invited [Vasily] Dobrokhotov, who a few days earlier had been transferred from the Secretariat to Foreign Intelligence, and ordered [him] to collect everything that at the moment was available on Wallenberg.[7]

“Notes from a Suitcase”, Wallenberg chapter Page 2, photo of page courtesy of Boris Sokolov

Page 2

N.S. Khrushchev called me, and the Wallenberg case became one of the points of our conversation. N. S. Khrushchev was very interested in this case because he had no knowledge of it, and instructed [me] to find out why the West was so interested in Wallenberg.[8]

Khrushchev forbade me to tell Molotov and the MID [Foreign Affairs Ministry] the circumstances of this task given to me. From conversations with him, I had the impression that he wanted to blame Beria and Abakumov as fully responsible for the liquidation of Wallenberg, and this would help improve relations with Sweden, building bridges with the Swedish government and the financial community, and, possibly, engage them as intermediaries in establishing relations with the West, to which Khrushchev was very keen. Also, Khrushchev had, obviously, and other reasons, but I’ll describe them later.

In the meantime, we collected the material. Some time before that, [our] counterintelligence found out that during his visit to the USSR, a Swedish Social Democrat, a Jew by nationality, met with Ilya Ehrenburg, who was in the MGB operational cultivation.[9] (Even in 1949, Abakumov raised the question of his arrest, but Stalin did not give his sanction [for that].)[10]

This Social Democrats had given the task to Swedish intelligence to reach Voroshilov (at the time, he was Chairman of the Presidium of the [USSR] Supreme Council, but in the West he was called the USSR President) through any prominent public figure. As a channel, Ehrenburg was chosen, taking into account that he was [well] known abroad and given his Jewish origin.

In 1954, during a meeting in Moscow with Ehrenburg, this Swede asked him to organize a meeting with Voroshilov. After that, Ehrenburg met with [Fyodor] Kharitonov, head of the 4th [KGB] Department, but the latter recommend avoiding concrete answers.[11]

Now a few words about the essence of the Wallenberg case. Dobrokhotov reported to me that the information about the special mission of Raoul Wallenberg in the territories occupied by the Germans, was originally received from Sweden and the USA.

American materials had special meaning for us. From our sources in US intelligence during the war, one of its prominent staff reported that Wallenberg, as a US intelligence agent, had established communication with German secret servicemen.[12] Under the guise of negotiations on the fate of Jews in the occupied territories, there was an informal channel of regular communication between the Hitlerite and American intelligence services.

“Notes from a Suitcase”, Wallenberg chapter Page 3, photo of page courtesy of Boris Sokolov

Page 3

Wallenberg was detained by SMERSH in early 1945, immediately after the liberation of Budapest.[13] Slovak diplomats were arrested together with him.[14]

Originally a transfer of Wallenberg to the Swedish side was planned. However, after an operational document [orientirovka] about his links with the Hitlerite secret services and American intelligence came from the [NKGB] First Directorate (intelligence), Stalin ordered Abakumov to arrest Wallenberg and sent him to Moscow.[15] His driver, at the moment I do not remember his name, was sent to Moscow together with him.

The documents taken from Wallenberg indicated that he had regular contacts with high-ranking Nazis, including the infamous Eichmann, the organizer of the mass liquidations of the Jewish population.[16] There were also credible data that the Swedish Embassy in Budapest was issuing diplomatic passports and other documents for the Hitlerite security service men for their cover.

Wallenberg was suspected of being involved in this activity, since [he] repeatedly traveled to the occupied territory, including, as I have already pointed out, to [the city of] Pskov. He was charged as a Nazi spy.

Dobrokhotov inspected the materials of the Committee of Information and of the [MGB] Investigation Department for Especially Important Cases and found out that at first Wallenberg was listed under SMERSH [military counterintelligence], but then, after deputy head of the Investigation Department, Likhachev (later executed).[17]

Colonel Kozyrev from the KGB Investigation Department reported to me that no operational material was used during the investigation of the Wallenberg case. There was also no direct evidence incriminating him of spying. At the same time, Wallenberg did not deny himself that he was in constant communication with a number of prominent Nazis and American intelligence men known to the MGB.

From [Vasily] Dobrokhotov and [Pyotr] Fedotov’s reports it was clear that Stalin and Molotov planned to use Wallenberg’s testimonies for secret negotiations with the Americans about which matters should not be discussed at the Nuremberg Process [the Soviets participated in the International Military Tribunal only – V. B.].

Fedotov, who, as I think, was a member of the Commission on preparation of the [Nuremberg] Process, told me that the Americans made advances to us by agreeing to omit discussions of the secret protocols of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in exchange for us not raising the question of financial connections of the USA with Hitler’s industrialists with the Wallenberg family as a mediator, and their separate peace negotiations.[18]

“Notes from a Suitcase”, Wallenberg chapter Page 4, photo of page courtesy of Boris Sokolov

Page 4

After the end of Nuremberg Process Raoul Wallenberg lost his value. Stalin thought that returning him back home made no sense, and it seems Molotov raised the question of his liquidation, as well as a number of the other American, German, and Japanese diplomats arrested by us after the war.[19]

The circumstances of Wallenberg’s liquidation could not be established decisively. The documents kept in the file, a report of the prison doctor about the death and the certificate [akt] of cremation, signed by the warden of Internal Prison [Aleksandr] Mironov and MGB Commandant [in fact, Chief Executioner] Blokhin demonstrated only the fact of Wallenberg’s death in 1947.[20] When interrogated on the Wallenberg case, Blokhin stated that his staff had nothing to do with the Wallenberg liquidation, or, at any rate, he did not remember about that.[21]

When interrogated, Mairanovsky and workers of his special laboratory chamber [kamera] [i.e. the laboratory where poisons were tested on prisoners] confirmed that in 1946-1947 they liquidated a number of foreign nationals who were kept in Inner Lubyanka and Vladimir MGB prisons.[22] They also did not remember any specific names.

Abakumov, interogated by [Aleksandr] Kozyrev, confirmed the liquidation of namely R. Wallenberg.[23] He referred to the direct orders of Stalin and Molotov, who he repeatedly informed in detail about the case. It was also found out that Bulganin, Deputy Commissar of Defense and a member of the GKO [State Defense Committee], gave a direct order to arrest Wallenberg in 1945.

All this I reported in detail to Khrushchev. He carefully listened to me and said: “These scoundrels, Stalin, Molotov, and Vyshinsky, brewed this rotten mess, and we now slurp shit.”

He asked me a few more clarifying questions about the participation of Molotov and Vyshinsky in this case and told me “not to blame Abakumov and his cronies for this specific episode with Wallenberg.”

At the same time, Khrushchev ordered me to talk to Molotov [and ask him] why the West once again recalled the Wallenberg case.

I met with Molotov in his office. When I asked, his reaction was extremely painful, he said that only an idiot can hope “to get some benefit from this case,” that this case can’t serve as a pretext for establishing informal relations with the Swedish financial and industrial circles.[24] He stated that he wasn’t going to return to this subject any more.

And at the end of the conversation Molotov suspiciously asked me: “And why are you raising this case now?” I answered him that I’m carrying out the instructions of the Central Committee of the Party.

“Notes from a Suitcase”, Wallenberg chapter Page 5, photo of page courtesy of Boris Sokolov

Page 5

I retold the content of the conversation [with Molotov] to N. S. Khrushchev, and he got angry and said that it is still necessary to get rid of Molotov. Khrushchev ordered me to continue the secret investigation through intelligence channels. At the same time, he forbade me to send any documents to the Central Committee on this topic.

I think his attitude was connected with the fact that until 1954, the whole Special Sector [i.e., Secretariat] of the Central Committee’s Presidium [former Politburo] was controlled by [Georgy] Malenkov and his assistant [Dmitry] Sukhanov, who Khrushchev did not trust.[25] Then Khrushchev still needed Molotov for dealing with Malenkov. (As a result, in January 1955, Malenkov, with Molotov’s help, was removed from the post of the USSR Council of Ministers Chairman).[26]

After the removal of Malenkov, the Molotov’s turn came. I think that N. S. Khrushchev decided for himself to immediately use the Wallenberg case against Molotov and to begin with, remove him from the MID.[27]

Molotov understood this perfectly, since he treated me as Khrushchev’s man (during the Presidium of the Central Committee [CC] [meeting] in 1954, he, together with Malenkov did not support my appointment as KGB Chairman; in connection with the division of the MVD [Interior Ministry] into two organizations, Malenkov wanted to appoint [Nikolai] Shatalin, CC Secretary, as KGB Chairman).[28]

Returning to this subject, I note that, in general, the question of the KGB creation, as of an independent agency, surfaced unexpectedly. At a Presidium [meeting] [MVD Minister Sergei] Kruglov raised a question about the new MVD structure, but a few days before that Khrushchev entrusted me in secret form to prepare for him a note on the establishing the KGB.[29] This happened a few days after the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the reunification of Ukraine and Russia.[30]

I ordered head of the Secretariat Dobrokhotov to prepare this material [apparently, a plan of the KGB organization] and, without signing, handed it over to Khrushchev’s assistant [Grigory] Shuisky.[31]

The work on the Wallenberg case continued. According to my instructions, in 1955 Kharitonov once again met with Ehrenburg and suggested that at the next meeting with the representatives of Sweden he would hint that he did not exclude the possibility that Wallenberg was imprisoned in the Soviet Union, and, possibly, fell victim to the criminals Beria and Abakumov.

I ordered [Aleksandr] Panyushkin to clarify the Swedish response to Ehrenburg’s words.[32] This reaction soon followed–the representatives of the Swedish MID directly hinted to our Ambassador [Konstantin] Rodionov that their government was not accusing the current USSR leadership of the involvement in the Wallenberg case, that it was a result of Beria’s crimes.[33]

“Notes from a Suitcase”, Wallenberg chapter Page 6, photo of page courtesy of Boris Sokolov

Page 6

However, I understood that it was necessary to use more than one channel (Ehrenburg), but several. For these purposes, an information leakage should be organized through the agency of our rezidenturas in various countries for informing the Swedish authorities about the readiness of the USSR to discuss the questions of Wallenberg’s fate.

This should be done not only in Finland, where our operational capabilities were always strong, but in some other country. Panyushkin suggested to use our rezidentura in Turkey, which had a connection with an eminent Finnish diplomat, known for his broad and informal contacts in the Swedish MID.[34]

In conversations with me Khrushchev several times returned to the Wallenberg case. I realized that this case was extremely important for him, that he wanted to use this case, like a number of others, in order to get rid of some of the Presidium of the Central Committee members, who were dangerous for him.[35]

I think that if it were not so, no one would have remembered the Raoul Wallenberg case at such a high level.[36]

I was involved in the preparation of documents for responses to the [diplomatic] notes of the Swedish government. Our position on the question of Wallenberg was always coordinated with N. S. Khrushchev because of the forthcoming visit of the Swedish Prime Minister [Tage] Erlander to Moscow, which the party leadership of the country gave great importance. This visit took place in 1956, but no documents were handed over to the Swedes.[37]

N.S. Khrushchev ordered me and Molotov not to hurry with the answers until after the parliamentary elections in Sweden.[38]

Time passed by. A Central Committee plenum took place, at which N. S. Khrushchev punished the anti-Party group, and then I finally understood why he asked me to pick up documents on this dirty case.[39]

After I retired, I had an informal conversation with a prominent statesman (I promised to never say his name).[40]

He asked me: “Ivan Aleksandrovich, is it possible that Wallenberg is in prison today under a false name?” I told him that my staff had a very thorough review [of the case] and I have no doubt that Wallenberg was liquidated in 1947.

[1] Serov’s son-in-law was Eduard Khrutsky (1933-2010), a writer of detective novels about Moscow criminal world. Svetlana Serova was his third wife. In 2005, Khrutsky published a story of Stalin’s visit to the vicinity of the Western Front in 1943, based, as Khrutsky wrote, on Serov’s “oral stories and diary entries”: E. Khrutsky. “Khrustalyov, a car!” Sovershenno sekretno [Top Secret]. No. 10 (197). October 1, 2005 (in Russian). Ivan Khrustalyov (1907-1954) was head of Stalin’s personal guards. There is a possibility that some parts of Serov’s memoir Notes from a Suitcase were added or edited by Khrutsky.

[2] According to known data, Raoul Wallenberg had never visited the city of Pskov. See a discussion of this unsupported by facts information in my article and in Boris Sokolov’s statement.

[3] Pyotr Fedotov (1900-1963) joined the VCheKa in 1922. In foreign intelligence, from 1940: from 1940 to 1941, head of the 3rd GUGB Department of the NKVD; from 1941 to 1943, head of the 2nd NKVD Directorate; from 1943 to 1946, head of the 2nd NKGB Directorate; from 1946 to September 1947, head of the 2nd MGB Main Directorate and deputy MGB Minister. From May 1947 to February 1952, 1st deputy Chairman of the Committee of Information (KI). From March 1953 to March 1954, head of the 1st MVD Main Directorate (foreign intelligence); from March 1953 to April 1956, head of the 2nd KGB Main Directorate (foreign intelligence) (see his biography in N. V. Petrov and K. V. Skorkin. Those Who Governed the NKVD 1934-1941. Reference Book. Moscow: Zven’ya, 1999. Pp. 418-19 (in Russian). Therefore, formally, Fedotov became 1st Deputy Head of the KI on May 30, 1947. See Fedotov’s role in the Wallenberg case is discussed in my article.

[4] Raoul Wallenberg had never represented the Swedish Red Cross, his official diplomatic position was 1st Secretary of the Swedish Legation in Budapest. His assignment was also supported by the American humanitarian organization the World Refugee Board, established in January 1944 on the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to aid civilian victims of the Nazi and Axis powers.

[5] At the end of 1951 and in 1952, the Swedish officials first received information that Wallenberg was kept in Moscow prisons from Italian diplomats who had been released. Then, from January to March 1956, a number of former German and Italian POWs gave notarized statements about Wallenberg’s imprisonment in Moscow in 1945-1947. See Raoul Wallenberg. Collection of Documents. Stockholm: Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (UD), 1966. Presidium members received a translation of these testimonies into Russian with Molotov’s cover letter on March 31, 1956. Document D43 in the Wallenberg database of the UD.

[6] In reality, the reorganization of the 1st MGB Main Directorate (foreign intelligence) and GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate, i.e. military intelligence) into the KI took some time, and until June 26, 1947, Fedotov was still MGB Deputy Minister (in charge of intelligence). However, Fedotov already knew about Wallenberg in February 1947, apparently, while he was still MGB Deputy Minister, before he became 1st KI Deputy Chairman (see Andrei Vyshinsky’s letter to Molotov, dated May 13, 1947). The staff of the 2nd (European ) KI Directorate was approved on July 24, 1947, i.e. after or at the time of Wallenberg’s presumed death (most likely, on July 23/24). There is no information if the head of the 2nd KI Directorate, Ivan Agayants, or the first head of the 2nd Department within that directorate in charge of Scandinavia, Aleksandr Sakharovsky, knew about Wallenberg at that time. For sure Sakharovsky was involved in correspondence with the MID regarding Wallenberg in 1955, when he was acting head of the KGB First Main Directorate (foreign intelligence). See a biography of Sakharovsky (1909-1983) in N. V. Petrov. Those Who Governed the State Security Services, 1941-1954. Reference Book. Moscow: Zven’ya, 2010. Pp. 771-72 (in Russian).

[7] Vasily Dobrokhotov (1911-1971) headed the MGB Secretariat from September 1951 to February 1952; from January 1952 to February 1953, he was 1st deputy head of the 1st MGB Main Directorate (foreign intelligence), then, for a month, he headed the MGB Secretariat again. From March to December 1953, he was deputy head of the MVD Secretariat, then for four months, from December 11, 1953 to March 17, 1954, he was acting head of the 2nd MVD Main Directorate (foreign intelligence). Finally, from March 1954 to March 1959, he headed the KGB Secretariat. In 1959, he was demoted to the position of head of the KGB Directorate of Ivanovo Region [see his biography in Petrov. Those Who Governed the State Security Services. Pp. 338-39 (in Russian)]. Therefore, if to believe this text, Serov ordered Dobrokhotov to collect materials on Wallenberg in December 1953.

[8] Contrary to this statement, Nikita Khrushchev knew about the Raoul Wallenberg case from mid-1952, because Wallenberg’s question was discussed twice at the Politburo meetings that year. Andrei Vyshinsky, at the time Soviet Foreign Minister, reported on the case. See a discussion in my article. This Serov’s statement is especially strange because he knew about decisions of the 1952 Politburo meetings. In November 1954, he wrote to the MID: “[The KGB] does not have anything to add to the MGB information dated March 3, 1952” (Document D36, the UD database). Apparently, if Serov, in fact, wrote this document, his memory about the events he described was vague and unreliable.

[9] The name of this Swedish Social Democrat is not a secret, he was the well-known Hjalmar Mehr, at the time Vice-Mayor of Stockholm. See a critical review of the whole story with Ilya Ehrenburg an Mehr in my article. While mentioning Ehrenburg, Serov used the of Soviet secret services jargon, saying that “he was in the MGB operativnoi razrabotke.” This term, “operativnaya razrabotka”, is translated into English as “operational cultivation.” See

the meaning of this term in KGB Lexicon: The Soviet Intelligence Officer’s Handbook. Edited and introduced by Vasiliy Mitrokhin. London: Frank Cass, 2002. Pp. 347-48.

[10] This is true. Ehrenburg’s name was at the beginning of the list of names of persons suggested for arrests that in early 1949 Abakumov sent to Stalin for approval in connection with the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee case. Stalin write the letters “Ar.” meaning “to arrest” near most of the names, while near Ehrenburg’s name he put a question mark. There was also Stalin’s secretary Aleksandr Poskrebyshev’s handwritten inscription on the document near the question mark: “С.[omrade] Abakumov has been informed.” See Power and Artistic Intelligentsia: Documents of the CC RCP(b)-VKP(b), VCheKa-OGPU-NKVD on Cultural Policy. 1917-1953. Edited by A. Yakovlev. Moscow: Deokratiya, 1999. P. 790 (in Russian).

[11] From July 1953 to March 1954, Fyodor Kharitonov (1907-1991) headed the 4th (secret-political) MVD Directorate (former 5th MGB Directorate), and from March 1954 to February 1957, he headed the 4th (secret-political) KGB Directorate, and from 1957-60, he was senior KGB adviser in Romania. See his biography in Petrov. Those Who Governed the State Security Services, 1941-1954. P. 886 (in Russian). If such meeting, in fact, took place, possibly, this was because the 5th Department of the 4th KGB Directorate was in charge of surveilling Soviet intelligentsia.

[12] It is impossible to verify this statement since such intelligence materials have never been released.

[13] Wallenberg was detained by Soviet troops on January 14, 1945. On January 25, 1945, the arrested Wallenberg was sent to Moscow under convoy (Documents C7 and C14 in the UD database). This was not a formal arrest, a SMERSH arrest warrant was never written. On February 6, 1945, Wallenberg and his driver Vilmos Langfelder were brought to the NKGB Internal (Lubyanka) prison in Moscow.

[14] In Budapest, only one Slovak diplomat, Jan Spišak, was arrested. He was sent to Moscow with two arrested Swiss diplomats, Harald Feller and Max Meier (Document A4 in the UD database). Later, in 1947, Spišak was transferred to the Slovak authorities, and in June 1947, a Slovak court withdraw accusations against him. Feller (1913-2003) and Meier returned to Switzerland in February 1946 in exchange for two Soviet pilots who defected to Switzerland.

[15] This orientirovka was never released.

[16] In 1989, the KGB returned to Wallenberg’s relatives several Raoul’s personal items, including a copy of his diary. Possibly, Serov talks about this diary with many names in it.

[17] Serov is mistaken. Mikhail Likhachev (1913-1954) and his Investigation Department for Especially Important Cases (OVD for short) had nothing with the Wallenberg case. From the beginning of investigation to the end (July 1947 in case of Wallenberg and October 1947 in case of his cell-mate Willy Rödel) the case was investigated within military counterintelligence by the 2nd Department of the GUKR SMERSH/4th Department of the 3rd MGB Main Directorate headed by Colonel Sergei Kartashov (1914-1979). The 6th (investigation) Department of the GUKR SMERSH/MGB OVD, where Likhachev was deputy head, were not involved in the case. Like Abakumov, Likhachev was arrested in 1951, sentenced to death and executed in December 1954. See biographies of Kartashov and Likhachev in Petrov. Those Who Guided the State Security Services. Pp. 446 and 548, correspondingly. On the structure of SMERSH, see Vadim Birstein. SMERSH, Stalin’s Secret Weapon: Soviet Military Counterintelligence in WWII. London: BiteBack, 2012.

[18] Fedotov was not a member of the Soviet commission that was in charge of the Nuremberg Trial preparation. The whole story about the supposed role of Raoul and the brothers Wallenberg in Soviet preparation of the trial is Serov’s fiction. See details in my article.

[19] There was no liquidated American diplomat arrested after the war. In fact, a number of German diplomats were arrested by SMERSH units in Sofia and Bucharest at the end of 1944; their fates are briefly described in Birstein. SMERSH, Stalin’s Secret Weapon. Most of them survived Soviet imprisonment. There are unclear data that a few captured Japanese high-ranking military leaders were liquidated by poisoning, but details of their cases were never released.

[20] According to the known internal rules, a certificate of cremation was never signed by Mironov and Blokhin. Aleksandr Mironov (1896-1968) joined the OGPU in 1923 and he was Chief Warden of the NKVD/NKGB/MGB Internal (Lubyanka) Prison in Moscow from 1937 to 1953. Vasily Blokhin (1895-1955) was Commandant (Chief Executioner) of the OGPU/NKVD/NKGB/MGB from 1926 to 1953 (see his biography in Petrov and Skorkin. Those Who Governed the NKVD. P. 112). See a discussion in my article.

[21] A record of this interrogation was never released It is unknown if this interrogation, in fact, took place.

[22] Records of interrogations of Mairanovsky and his colleagues about Wallenberg were never released and it is unknown if these interrogations, in fact, took place. See a discussion in my article. Details about Grigory Mairanovsky (1899-1964), his NKVD/NKGB/MGB toxicological laboratory and political killings by poisons are given in Vadim Birstein. The Perversion of Knowledge: The True History of Soviet Science. Boulder (CO): Westview Press, 2001.

[23] There is no information whether this interrogation of Viktor Abakumov, in fact, took place. At least no records about it were ever released. See a discussion in my article.

[24] All these statements by Serov are not supported by facts. The intense Swedish inquiries about Wallenberg and meetings with Soviet diplomatic and party officials began just after Stalin’s death on March 5, 1953. See the table in my article.

[25] Dmitry Sukhanov (1904-1995?) was Malenkov’s assistant from 1936 to 1953. From 1953-55, he headed Secretariat of the Central Committee’s Presidium. In August 1956, he was sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment for stealing state property. In fact, as Khrushchev said in his speech in Leningrad on July 5, 1958, Sukhanov stole a bond from Beria’s personal safe after Beria was arrested. But it appeared that Beria, in his turn, had stolen that bond from Nikolai Bulganin’s safe, and everything came out. See a transcript of Khrushchev’s speech in: Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, Two Colors of Time: Documents from the Personal Fond [Collection] of N. S. Khrushchev. Compiled by A. N. Artizov et all. Vol. 1. Moscow: Demokratiya, 2009. Pp. 601-02 (in Russian). In the late 1950s, Sukhanov was amnestied and released from prison.

[26] In January 1955, Malenkov was criticized at the Plenum of the Central Committee, was demoted from the post of Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers to a deputy chairman and appointed Minister of Electrical Power Stations. Nikolai Bulganin replaced Malenkov as Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

[27] This is Serov’s pure speculation. There is no indication that the Wallenberg case had any connection with Molotov’s dismissal on May 1, 1955, from the post of Soviet Foreign Minister. Formally, he was accused of a wrong foreign policy towards Yugoslavia (Molotov was skeptical about a possibility of good relationships with that country). Dmitry Shepilov succeeded Molotov as Foreign Minister.

[28] Contrary to Serov’s words, Molotov even did not attend that Presidium meeting on February 8, 1954. Khrushchev, Malenkov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov, and Bulganin were present. See a transcript of that meeting: Document no. 1. Protokol (transcript) no. 50[/II]. Meeting on February 8, 1954 in: Presidium of the C[entral] C[ommittee] of the CPSU, 1954-1964. Vol. 1. Rough Minutes of the Meetings. Transcripts, edited by A. A. Fursenko. Moscow: ROSSPEN: 2004. Pp. 19-24 (in Russian). The appointment of Serov KGB Chairman at that meeting is discussed in my article.

[29] Nothing is known about Serov’s secret plan of the KGB organization. If Serov meant a report to the Presidium on the “enhancing the cadres of the Central and peripheral MVD organs”, signed by Sergei Kruglov, MVD Minister, and two his deputies, Serov and Konstantin Lunev, and dated September 22, 1953, this report was not secret and was criticized at the Presidium meetings on February 28, 1954 [see Yu. Bogdanov. Minister of Stalin’s Projects. Moscow: Veche, 2006. Pp. 477, 487-78 (in Russian)]. Sergei Krulov (1907-1977) was NKVD Deputy Commissar from 1941-45, then NKVD Commissar in 1945-46, and, finally, MVD Minister from 1946-53 and 1953-56 (see his biography in Petrov and Skorkin. Those Who Governed the NKVD. Pp. 251-52). Konstantin Lunev (1907-1980) was a Party functionary, who after Stalin’s death was transferred to the MVD. From July 1953 to March 1954, he was 1st MVD Deputy Minister, and from March 1954 to August 1959, he was 1st KGB Deputy Chairman (see his biography in Petrov. Those Who Governed the State Security Services. P. 554).

Kruglov’s first plan of the MVD reorganization without dividing in two organization, addressed to Malenkov and Khrushchev, was sent the Presidium on November 23, 1953 (Bogdanov. Minister of Stalin’s Projects. P. 487) The Kremlin leadership ordered Kruglov to considerably rework the plan, and on February 4, 1954, in a letter addressed again to Malenkov and Khrushchev, Kruglov sent a new plan of dividing the MVD into the MVD and KGB. The plan suggested structures of both future KGB and MVD [Document no. 174 in A. I. Kokurin and N. V. Petrov. Lubyanka. VCheKa-OGPU-NKVD-NKGB-MGB-MVD-KGB Organs, 1917-1991. Reference Book. Moscow: Materik, 2003. Pp. 684-87 (in Russian)]. Contrary to Serov’s description, on February 8, 1954, the Presidium members approved Kruglov’s general plan and the appointed Serov KGB Chairman, while Kruglov remained MVD Minister (Presidium Decision P50/II).

It is surprising that Serov writes that he had some secret task ordered by Khrushchev regarding the future KGB. In fact, the Presidium decision P50/II, in particular, charged Serov and Lunev to prepare in five days their project on the KGB structure “taking into consideration the discussion at the CC Presidium [meeting].”

[30] This could not happen on those particular dates. The KGB was established following the joint Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council, dated March 13, 1954. The official celebration of the 300th anniversary of the reunification of Ukraine and Russia in Kiev occurred on May 24, 1954, when the KGB already existed.

[31] From 1950 to 1964, Grigory Shuisky (1907-1985) was assistant, then senior assistant to Nikita Khrushchev. Nothing is known about this report. Evidently, if it existed, Khrushchev did not pay attention to it.

[32] Aleksandr Panyushkin (1905-1974) joined the OGPU in 1927. From 1947 to 1952, he was Soviet Ambassador to Washhington and at the same time, chief foreign intelligence rezident in the U.S. From July 1953 to March 1954, he headed the 2nd MVD Main Directorate (foreign intelligence), then, from March 1954 to June 1955, he headed the 1st KGB Main Directorate (foreign intelligence) (see his biography in Petrov and Skorkin. Those Who Governed the NKVD. P. 333). Possibly, Serov meant that Yevgeny Tarabrin, a foreign intelligence officer under diplomatic cover, on May 17, 1955 met with Arne Lundberg, Cabinet Secretary at the Swedish Foreign Ministry (see table in my article).

[33] There was no meeting in 1955 that would correspond to this statement (see table in my article). In fact, the Swedish Foreign Minister Undén told the Soviet Ambassador Konstantin Rodionov later, on March 10, 1956, that “the Swedish Government would be satisfied with an answer that would hint at Wallenberg’s disappearance being ‘an act of Beria’ (see my article). Counter Admiral Konstantin Rodionov (1901-1981) was a Soviet Navy diplomat and intelligence officer. From 1943-45, he was deputy, then acting head of the Intelligence Directorate of the Main Marine Headquarters. From February 1950 to December 1956, he was Soviet Ambassador to Stockholm, and from December 1956 to January 1958, he headed the Scandinavian Department of the MID [see his biography in: M. A. Alekseev, A. I. Kolpakidi, and V. Ya. Kochik. Encyclopedia of Military Intelligence. Moscow: Kuchkovo pole, 2012. P. 659-60 (in Russian)].

[34] In fact, some general talks about Wallenberg took place in Turkey. On August 21, 1955, Pavel Yerzin, Counselor of the Soviet Embassy in Ankara (a foreign intelligence officer under diplomatic cover) invited Åke Frey, Finnish Charge d’Affaires, to a dinner and they talked about Wallenberg. Frey expressed the wish that Wallenberg should be released if he was imprisoned in the Soviet Union, and this would “create a wave of approval in the hearts of people of Scandinavian countries” (Document D 34, the UD database). Yerzin responded that he was not familiar with the question and would make inquires. Yerzin’s report was received and filed in MID in Moscow on September 23, 1955. The second known conversation about Wallenberg between Frey and Yerzin took place on March 16, 1956. Frey warned Yerzin that during the future official visit of the Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander to Moscow, Erlander would raise, in particular, the Wallenberg question. Frey explained: “Erlander, who by his nature is a very proud man, and because of that a sympathetic response of the Soviet government on this issue could positively influence Erlander and would facilitate discussions with him of other issues.” Yerzin answered that he could not find in Moscow any news about Wallenberg.

[35] This is Serov’s pure speculation. There is no data pointing to the possibility that the Wallenberg case played any role in Khrushchev’s political maneuvers.

[36] This is also Serov’s speculation. The Wallenberg case was almost always discussed on high level, especially in the 1950s, after Stalin’s death.

[37] See events from March 30 to April 3, 1956, in the table in my article.

[38] Serov says nothing about a personal meeting with Molotov regarding the Wallenberg case in the second part of April 1956 (see the table). After the meeting, on April 28, Presidium members approved Molotov and Serov’s plan regarding future steps in the Wallenberg case: texts of Rodionov’s oral statements to Undén that should be made in May and July, and of a note that should be given to Undén later (Documents D48 and E23, the UD database). At the next Presidium meeting on May 3, it was decided to make a new statement on Wallenberg (see the table). This was the beginning of the work on the future Gromyko Memorandum.

[39] On June 29, 1957, at a CC Plenum, Molotov, together with Malenkov and Shepilov (as well as Lazar Kaganovich) were ousted of all their posts. This “Molotov’s group” planned to dismiss Khrushchev and appoint him Minister of Agriculture, but Khrushchev, with Serov and Georgy Zhukov’s help, managed to prevent the actions of the plotters [see details in: Molotov, Malenkov, Kaganovich. 1957. Transcript of the June Plenum of the CC CPSU. A. N. Yakovlev, editor. Moscow: Demokratiya, 1998 (in Russian)]. From 1957-60, Molotov was Soviet Ambassador to Mongolia, and in 1960-61, he headed the Soviet delegation to the International Atomic Energy Agency within the United Nations located in Vienna. In October 1961, in his speech at the 22nd Congress of Soviet Communist Party Khrushchev accused Molotov, Malenkov, and Kaganovich of participating in Stalin’s crimes. Molotov was called back from Vienna, dismissed and expelled from the Communist Party. After this he lived as a retired person.

Bulganin, who also participated in the plot against Khrushchev, in 1958 lost his post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers and his membership in the Presidium, and then demoted from the rank of Marshal to Colonel General. Khrushchev became Chairman of the Council of Ministers, as well as First Secretary of the Communist Party.

Again, there is no information that the Wallenberg case had any impact in Khrushchev’s struggle for power at all these events.

[40] Apparently, this was somebody from Mikhail Gorbachev’s circle. The first Politburo decision during Gorbachev’s tenure regarding an answer (P22/69) to the inquiry by the new Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson was adopted on July 24, 1986 (Document E62, the UD database). It was an instruction to the Soviet Ambassador Boris Pankin to say Carlsson that “the additional examination of materials connected with the fate of Raoul Wallenberg showed that, as it was already told to the Swedish Side in 1957, 1965 and 1979, R. Wallenberg died in July 1947 in Lubyanka Prison presumably of myocardial infarction. The Soviet Side considers the question about R. Wallenberg has been exhausted.” The draft proposal of this decision was signed by Eduard Shevarnadze, Soviet Foreign Minister, and Filipp Bobkov, 1st KGB Deputy Chairman. Possibly, one of them questioned Serov in connection with the preparation of this answer.